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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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fficers in the Katyn forest, some fourteen miles west of Smolensk,
which was now under their occupation, in a place described as a " holiday
resort of the G.P.U." " These officers/1 the Agency alleged, " were
murdered by special detachments of the Soviet political police." One
mass grave, twenty-eight metres long by sixteen metres wide, was said
to have contained the bodies of some three thousand Polish officers in
full uniform all shot in the back of the head and lying face downwards
in twelve layers. <e Owing to the nature of the soil/* it said, " the bodies
had not decomposed, but had become mummified." As their documents
were still in their pockets, the communique added, ce all the bodies could
be identified,"
After the publication of this communique., the Germans issued fresh
details almost daily, even giving the names of identified victims. They
arranged for the representatives of the Press from all occupied Europe,
together with any of the neutral Press who still remained in Germany, to
visit the scene of this crime. Professors of pathology from twelve
countries, and the following universities : Gandava (Belgium), Sofia
(Bulgaria), Copenhagen (Denmark), Helsinki (Finland), Naples (Italy),
Zagreb (Croatia), Groningen (Holland), Prague (Bohemia), Bukarest
(Rumania), Geneva (Switzerland), Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest
(Hungary), Breslau (Germany) and representatives of the German High
Command, together with representatives of the French Vichy Govern-
ment, gathered at the investigation.
There were also Red Cross representatives from those twelve countries
(and the Polish Red Cross), together with representatives from among
the Polish officers in the prisoner-of-war camps in Germany who were
brought in order to identify their colleagues. In addition, a few
American, Canadian and British officers, prisoners of war, were also taken
along to witness the proceedings.
On April 15, the Soviet Information Bureau issued a communique :
cc In the past two or three days Goebbels* slanderers have been spreading
vile fabrications alleging that Soviet authorities effected a mass shooting of
Polish officers in the spring of 1940, in the Smolensk area. In launching
this monstrous invention, the German-Fascist scoundrels do not hesitate
at the most unscrupulous and base lies in their attempt to cover up crimes
which, as has now become evident, were perpetrated by themselves.
" The German-Fascist reports on this subject leave no doubt as to the
tragic fate of the former Polish prisoners-of-war who, in 1941, were engaged
in constructional work in areas west of Smolensk and who, along with many
Soviet people, residents of the Smolensk region, fell into the hands of the
German-Fascist hangmen in the summer of 1941, after the withdrawal of
the Soviet troops from the Smolensk area.
" Beyond doubt Goebbels* slanderers are now trying by lies and
calumnies to cover up the bloody crimes of the Hitlerite gangsters. In their
clumsily concocted fabrication about the numerous graves which the
Germans allegedly discovered near Smolensk, the Hitlerite liars mention
the village of Gnezdovaya. Buta like the swindlers they ar&^ tibey are sitot